Newcastle United manager John Carver sprung to the defence of goalkeeper Tim Krul after the Dutchman was seen joking with Sunderland's Jermain Defoe as they walked off at halftime in the North East derby on Sunday.
Krul had just been beaten by Defoe's sensational volley, the only goal of the Premier League game at a jam-packed Stadium of Light, and television pictures showed him apparently congratulating the striker in the tunnel.
Some Newcastle fans took to social media platforms to express their outrage, no doubt heightened by a fifth consecutive derby defeat by Sunderland.
"If there's one guy who cares about this club it's Tim Krul. Whenever we have issues Tim is the guy who steps forward. Give me Tim Krul any day of the week. He is Newcastle United crazy," Carver told the BBC.
"We get slaughtered when we're not sportsmanlike and when you see skill like that you have to accept it."
Krul later denied that he had congratulated Defoe.
"What I actually told him I probably cannot repeat on television as it wasn't nice," Krul told Sky Sports.
"It was a fantastic goal, everybody can accept that. What I told him was in the region of what a lucky guy he was.
"Listen, I have been here for 10 years, I am hurt as anybody else. Whoever wants to put a negative spin on that is not justified."